Monday, October 28, 2013


I'm thankful for this sweet soul. 
She spoils me with too much sugar, 
makes me think far beyond what I would on my own, 
and lives a beautiful life.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

what's important

Sometimes, I like to make lists of things I love because it makes my heart happy to refocus on those things. Today is one of those days.

I've been thinking about the kind of woman I want to be and trying to be her.  If people were asked to describe me, I hope that among other things, they would say I am... 

-loving to God and people
-engaged in the present
-wise
-supportive
-accepting
-intentional
-healthy
-creative

Sometimes I need a reminder of what's important.  

This post was more for me than it was for you. I hope that's okay.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

look at this

I've never been very good at studying the Bible. As much as I have wanted to be, I've just never felt like I understood enough to get all that there is to get from the pages- which is frustrating. I'm still learning about all of it, but I stumbled across this blog the other day- Come and Break Bread.

It's written by Anne and Alli and they're doing a series called 31 Days to Better Understanding and Loving the Bible.  God is definitely using this series in my life.  For realz.  Read it.

It's given me some newfound excitement for reading the Word and I've loved it. So I'm going to stop writing now so that you can go and read for yourself.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

jesus makes me not as crazy


If we're talking about self-care, we've got to talk about Jesus.  I usually suck when I try to take care of myself, but He's pretty great at it.

I find that if I'm intentional about reading the word, talking to Him, or just doing something that keeps me in tune with God, then I can deal with life a lot easier.  I feel like with God, celebrations are more joyful and hard times are still hard... but He's there through it and working in it.

Living in His presence is the best.  For real.  (Not claiming that I've got this down- I do not.  But I try.)

I believe that I'm passionately loved by my heavenly Father and that He stays with me through whatever I'm going through.  I believe He knows me and what I need more intimately than I even know myself.  Knowing that He wants to take care of me, I know that I can trust Him with all of life.  His love and presence and purpose for me makes me a little bit less crazy.  And I believe all of this is true for you too.

So if you're feeling a bit cray cray today, like I do most days, go to Jesus.  He's got this.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

invest in people

I've always been one who wanted deeper relationships with people, and often have been upset when it didn't just happen like I expected it would.  I would be too shy or insecure to get to know people myself, so I wished that they would talk to me instead.  Not so effective.

I'm still learning how to be a better friend to people.  And how to make those surface relationships deeper. But I am learning.

This blog has been making me think about it differently lately, which is perfect timing since school is about to start again and new friendships are all over the place.  So for all of you going back to school or starting college or just looking to be a better friend, don't leave yet!  (And if you have time, read the whole post on The Beless Family blog.  It's great.)

What I keep thinking about is to be the kind of friend that you wish you had.  Love people well.  Pursue them.  Get to know them and let them get to know you.  Don't be too shy to write a card or invite someone along or give a hug.

Wouldn't you love a friend like that?  I know I would. I'm blessed to say that I have some!  But I also know that there are people that I would like to be a better friend to.

So here's my challenge for you and for me this week/month/year/forever...
if you're looking to take care of yourself well, consider being an intentional friend who lovingly pursues the people you care about.  See what a difference it makes.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

two decades


I'M TURNING TWENTY TODAY!!! 

I guess you could say I'm a little excited. 

Not that much. 

Okay, you caught me, I'm way excited.  

Happy August 13th!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

who are you?


"Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom
Aristotle

Knowing yourself is so important in keeping yourself well.

I must have figured that out at an early age because I've been journaling and learning about myself for as long as I can remember.  For me, it's empowering to know the foods my body needs to eat, when I need to take time to be alone, and how to express myself well.  

One thing about me is that I'm an extreme introvert.  That means that I draw my energy from being alone, rather than being with people.  So a big part of me taking care of myself means that I need to listen to myself and decide when I need to take that time for me.  

It's kind of a bummer when there's a million things going on and I know that if I'm going to have any time to myself, I have to miss something.  But I think it's worth it to be energized and doing some things rather than be drained and doing everything.  

Pay attention to yourself this week and learn. What makes you laugh?  What do you do to relieve stress?  When are you at your best?

Thinking about this, here are some things I've learned about me.
1. Exercise and time with Jesus are extremely important in keeping me energized.  
2. Having my nails painted makes me feel like I'm put together, even when I'm not.
3. I'm a goal setter, so I need to work at living in the present moment.
4. Friends, New Girl, and How I Met Your Mother make me laugh.
5. I love to create.  

So, what are some of the things that make you, you?

Monday, August 5, 2013

we're tourists

Sorry I've been away for a little while- I WAS IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY! Okay, really it was just Canada, but it still counts. My family went to see Niagara Falls this week! It was the first time that our family has spent a significant amount of time together all summer, so it was so good.  We did some overpriced tourist-y things and loved every minute of it.

We went on this boat that takes you right up next to Niagara Falls, and it was so exciting! I couldn't help but think of Jim and Pam's wedding. (The Office fans, anyone?) Loved it.  I'll put pictures of the falls up soon, although pictures can't really do them justice. You'll have to go see them yourself.

Hope you had a great week!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

taking care of you


I'm home and showered and basically a real person again! Still catching up on journaling though.  And I need to unpack. And do laundry. So that's fun.

As I've been trying to get used to not being at camp all the time, I've been thinking a lot about camp life. I've realized that as rewarding and incredible as it was, I've never been that drained and not been able to do anything about it.  Sometimes I turned into Sassy Audrey.  Whoops!  Sorry, co-counselors.

So to minimize the appearance of Sassy Audrey, taking care of yourself is going to be one of the focuses on my blog from now on. Mainly because I always need to be really intentional about it.  It's hard work! And at least for me, usually if I get busy or caught up in life, taking care of myself is one of the first things that goes out the window.

But no more!  I'm going to work on getting to know myself better and knowing how to best take care of my mind, body, and spirit.

Thanks for following along with my camp adventures! I'd love it if you would stick around and comment or email me about how you keep up with taking care of you.  Let's learn from each other!

Friday, July 26, 2013

week six




It's been a really fantastic last week.  The third and fourth graders were precious.  We had a talent show, a shaving cream war, played in gross things, and sang a lot.  I had a couple of campers who loved to hug me and sit on my lap, which is my favorite.

If you've been following my bucket list, I get to check a few more things off!  No throwing up!! Yippee!  Although some of their sleep talking and moaning made me kind of nervous. Really nervous, actually.  And I didn't mess up any names all summer.  Okay, I did.  But they were identical twins, so I'm going to give myself some grace on that one.  I journaled every week and filled up one of my journals- crazy.

I also feel like I got to know a good deal of my campers pretty well.  Camp is a unique place where people seem to open up more about what's really going on in their lives.  That's been cool to experience this summer.

Right now, I'm still running low on energy from the week, but I feel like I learned a lot about myself, working with different kinds of people, and loving on campers.  Valuable life lessons, I think.

I'm thankful for camp.  It's been good.

Friday, July 19, 2013

week five


This week was fourth, fifth, and sixth graders, which was kind of strange since the age range was so wide, but I really really loved my cabin.  I clicked really well with a couple of girls in my cabin so we had an awesome time hanging out.

One girl was pretty eager to get out of bed in the morning, so before I had even sat up, she was right there hugging me and telling me good morning.  A little startling at first, but I really loved it.  Throughout the day, she loved to hug a lot of the counselors just because.  It was such a bright spot in my days.

I had a couple other campers who loved to write songs or skits and perform them for us, so that made our cabin time entertaining.  And they listened well, which is always a plus.  We may or may not have played the quiet game before bedtime.  They were so competitive it worked beautifully.  That was a blessing.

As you can see by my red hands (no, I did not kill a camper) , I got to knock tye dying off of my bucket list!  I always forget how much I love to do it- I'm hoping to make some more shirts once I'm home for the summer.

We were also visited by Andrew and John, who are riding their bikes across America to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project and keeping a blog along the way.  They ended up staying with us longer than planned because camp is too fun.  The campers had a ball asking them all kinds of questions and playing night games with them.  Love it.

One week left!  I'll be sad to leave, but I'm missing my friends back at home too.  Bittersweet.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

week four


It's so weird that it's only the fourth week of camp, but we only have two left!  This week was packed with all kinds of games and activities, which was incredible for the fifth and sixth graders, but the counselors were exhausted by the end of the week.  It was sweet, I had one camper who had been to a different camp before and she kept talking about how much she looooved this week even more.  Not that it's a competition, but I'm glad we won.

This week was awesome too because there was all kinds of counselors who I knew from church that were here.  I was so glad to have my two counselors-in-training in my cabin.  I even had my brother and sister here this week- love them.

Basically, I'm really looking forward to the last two weeks of camp.  It's going to be awesome.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

week two and a half


This week was different than the others because it was the youngest camp so they only stayed at camp for two nights.  It rained a lot and we had to move the schedule around a lot, so things were always kind of crazy, but it was great.

I love this age group because they love to be with their counselors.  It was fun to get to know all of my girls and be silly with them.  We played hide and seek with flashlights in the cabin, celebrated a birthday, and drew pictures together.  I love that.

Since the week was so short, I didn't get to work on my bucket list much, but I am working on staying intentional about being a good counselor. As we all get more tired, and things get crazier, it gets harder, but I really think that God gives us strength to be there for the kids.

Yay camp.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

week two


This week we got to hang out with seventh and eighth graders!  This is for sure one of my favorite age groups.  Some highlights from the week were leading girl time with some of the other counselors, answering each of my girls' questions about life, God, and boys, specifically getting to tell each of my girls truth about who they are, and watching them open up as the week went on.

I love seventh and eighth grade girls because generally, they are so open and honest about where they're at and what they're dealing with.  It makes my heart happy to be able to talk to them about big issues and pray with them.  I'm hoping that this week was a time of healing for all of the girls who opened up.

And for those of you keeping track of my bucket list, I've gotten three letters and a couple packages (You guys are the best. For real.), haven't messed up any names yet, and I've really tried to get to know my campers.  And no vomit yet. (Praise the Lord!)

This week, we talked to the girls a lot about their value.  We told them that even though we don't always feel valuable, they are extremely valuable to God.  It was awesome to get to process through this with them and be able to tell them that they are beautiful, unique, and loved.

I'm so thankful for this week and my time so far at camp.

(Also, if anyone was wondering, I was a wounded sheep in the middle picture.  Can't you tell?)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

week one

This week was so good, but so crazy.  It was the first time all of my siblings and I were at a camp together!  So weird.  It was also a week of learning about my duties as a staff member and where everything is that I need to do those!  I was a little bit of a hot mess sometimes.

But it was such an incredible week with the girls in my cabin.  We would sing and make faces at each other and play with each others hair.  And we won our first game of tug-o-war.  Beasts.

We had great conversations about choosing joy and seeing God and relationships and just life.  Those talks are my favorites.  Thanks, girls, for sharing your lives with me.  

And this isn't really camp related, but Erin showed up unexpected this week all the way from Atlanta!  She could only stay for like an hour and a half, but still it was so good.

Also, this week I helped run canteen and only dropped two things, didn't mess up any names, did a lame zumba workout video, and kind of did something embarrassing.  To get a package, my siblings and I had to say the alphabet backwards.  I don't know if this is a normal thing to be able to do, but I can't.  Like at all.  Past Z, Y, X, W, I'm lost.  But apparently my brother can!  So he showed my sister and I up big time.  Whoops. (If you missed it, these are all things that are a part of my camp bucket list.)

So you know how sometimes you expect God to teach you something, then he ends up teaching you something else?  Yeah, that happens.  This week when I was being a grump, the lesson was all about humility.  Ouch.

Basically, I was reminded that camp isn't about me and what I want or need.  It's about the campers and doing my best to be a good example of Jesus to them.  A lot easier said than done.  

True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less - C.S. Lewis

Sunday, June 16, 2013

camp without campers


Camp life is the best.  We've spent this week tackling a tower of mattresses with bleach, sweeping, mopping, and cleaning bathrooms.  Lovely.  But really, it's been a great time to get to hang out with the staff for the summer.  We love each other already.

I've been working on my camp bucket list!  (If you don't know what I'm talking about, it's here.) I've taken pictures of the stars, (but I was so in love with the pictures, I'll probably take more.) I've gotten a letter already, (thanks grandma).  And we've gotten some time to lay out so I'll hopefully avoid t shirt tan lines!  

We've also had some training this week working on conflict resolution, how we can work best together as a staff, and how to best encourage the campers in the stage of development they're in.  It was all really awesome.  Leaving camp, we want the campers to know this: 

You were created on purpose, for a purpose by a God who loves you.  

At any age, that's such a great reminder.  

Sunday, June 9, 2013

camp bucket list

To go along with my plan for being a (hopefully) awesome camp counselor this summer, I thought I'd come up with a camp bucket list.  I'm a list person, can you tell?

So at camp, I would love to...
- tye dye a shirt (or two, or three)
- help run canteen (this is actually a part of my job, but I'm just so excited about it)
- take pictures of the stars with my DSLR
- not have a camper throw up in my cabin
- not mess up any names (not even one)
- get at least a little bit of a tan and avoid as many funny looking tan lines as I can
- journal about every week
- win knock out
- receive at least three letters
- zumba on the weekend
- do something embarrassing
- go creek stomping
- go running at least a couple of times
- try to eat healthy (with camp food, this might not happen. oops.)
- really get to know as many of my campers as I can
- find one or two campers to keep in touch with after camp

I've got big plans for camp.  But God usually has bigger ones.  Maybe different than what I have in mind, but I'm still excited to see what He's going to do there.  I leave TOMORROW!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

daycation


Hayden and I decided to make a road trip to Lake Michigan before camp starts.  It was our daycation!!  We're preparing to spend all of our time with campers- which is exciting, but sometimes exhausting.

We spent the day driving and singing, playing frisbee, getting burnt, getting bit by weird bugs, and climbing sand dunes.  Couldn't have asked for a better day.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

tailer

Tailer's the best.  We've been friends since my junior year of high school and she's always been such a blessing in my life.  She's sweet and funny and loves to sing and play basketball.

When I signed up to help out some of the students with special needs, I was looking for an easy class.  But I found Tailer.  I'm so so so glad.  My junior and senior year hanging out with her was the brightest part of my day. We sang and made things out of clay.  Who wouldn't love that?

It's funny, Tailer is one of the few people who I have kept up with after high school.  Her friendship made me realize how much I love befriending people with special needs.  She's a little different, but she has an irreplaceable role in my life.

When I was having a rough time and didn't feel like I had a place where I belonged, I could always count on Tailer to be happy to see me and make me feel loved.  Love her for that.

One of my favorite things about Tailer is her favorite song.  She can sing "you are my sunshine" a million and one times and never get tired of it.  So much so that some people call her Sunshine.  I love that just by walking around and asking people to sing with her, she brings positivity, love, and sunshine.

I'm so glad we're friends.

Friday, May 17, 2013

best camp counselor ever


I have my dream job this summer.  Ever since I was fourteen, I've wanted to be on staff at the camp I grew up at and I finally have the job!  And I'll be on staff with some of my best friends.  It's going to be a great summer.

I'm so excited and so blessed to be able to love on kids all summer and teach them about Jesus.  I know some of my old counselors have changed my life.

But since I've gone to camp for so many years, as a counselor in training and a camper, I know that it's hard work.  Sometimes it's hot, there's cleaning to do, I won't get along with everyone, it's exhausting, and plans don't always work out.  But I want to do my best to act like Jesus in those situations anyways.

So here's my list of my goals for how I want to counsel this summer.

  • Be positive and encouraging. Camp is rough sometimes.  We all need encouragement. 
  • Be intentional about spending free time with campers. Even though I love the counselors, I want to remember that I'm there to love on the campers and build relationships with them first.
  • Don't complain.  Complaining doesn't help anyone.  The situation's not going to change- the only thing I can do is change my attitude.
  • Be patient with everyone and give grace.  Sometimes conflict can ruin a really great day if you let it.  But I don't want to.  I only get five days with each camp so I don't want to get hung up on the small stuff. 
  • Take time for myself (even five minutes) to refocus and get strength from the Lord.  This is hard sometimes because things are so busy, but it's so important. 
  • Participate.  Even if I don't feel like it, I'm sure I'll be glad I did.  This is more just my personality.  I'm not a games person, so a lot of times I just like to watch.  But I don't want to miss out on anything!
  • Be praying and be open to opportunities to hear kids' hearts.  Listen.  Sometimes this is the best way to love kids.  Just be with them and listen to them.  
If you think about it, I'd love your prayers for all of the campers and counselors coming in June and July.  I'm hoping to be able to continue to blog on the weekends while I'm there, so you can keep up on my camp adventures, but no promises. 

It's going to be really hard sometimes, but so rewarding.  I'm really excited to see what God has in store!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

olivia

I've been learning about photography lately so I asked my sweet sister, Olivia, to model for me.  She was such a good sport about letting me take a million pictures of her.  It was fun to get to spend this time together and even get a few good sister shots!  Love this girl.  She's a natural beauty.



my outfit
blouse// tj maxx
jeans// kohl's

olivia's outfit
tank top// thrifted
leggings// victoria's secret
sandals// old navy